Abbott's play for national audience draws questions about higher-office plans

SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson talks about speculation that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott may be angling for a run for higher office.

By Brandi Grissom
Austin Bureau

AUSTIN — On the first anniversary of his residence in the Texas Governor’s Mansion, Gov. Greg Abbott was in Israel, more than 7,000 miles from his home state. He was meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and once again railing against President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

The trip, Abbott’s third international voyage in recent months, followed quickly on the heels of his headline-making plan to amend the U.S. Constitution and take back states’ rights, which he revealed earlier this month.

As many Texas governors before him have done, Abbott is placing himself squarely in the middle of national and international politics. The high-profile moves have many in the political sector wondering whether the newly minted governor is angling — as his recent predecessors have — for a run at the White House or another prominent national position. . . 

If Abbott is considering a presidential bid, Southern Methodist University political science professor Cal Jillson said, it is likely a long game for the governor, and he would do well to mind the experience of Gov. Rick Perry. Perry, the state’s longest-serving governor, came into the 2012 presidential race as a front-runner. But with little preparation, he later petered out spectacularly. Despite more prep work, Perry’s star again faded quickly during his second White House bid last year.

“Perry showed that being successful in Texas doesn’t necessarily translate to the national level,” Jillson said. “In fact, if he’s going to make that move, he will probably have to relearn much of what he learned in Texas political life.”

Read the full story.